Yes, you read correctly! Sad and unusual news for Toronto's Fashion market today.
The industry is buzzing with the sudden closing announcement of one of Toronto's premiere Talent Agencies; Ford Models. Apparently closing at the end of the month, Toronto's branch of Ford, the headquarters of which resides in Manhattan, New York, is the agency's only Canadian subsidiary. The news comes as a bit of a shock to Fashion in Toronto, myself included. Although Toronto's market is nowhere near the level of the international circuit (that is, Paris, London, New York etc.), the level of talent in the city is quite strong; both in artistic production as well as Model Talent. But it's unclear whether Talent had anything to do with the decision in the first place, which allegedly came directly from headquarters in New York City.
Ford Models is an Internationally reputable agency, housing successful branches, aside from Toronto, in New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Brazil. Setting up in Toronto in 1995, the agency has been an integral, driving force in the building and swelling of Toronto's growing Fashion market; contributing to a myriad of projects and launching significant Canadian Talent. A testament to the Talent they housed is easy to see; as competing powerhouse agencies in Toronto (Sutherland, Elmer Olsen, ELITE) have been flooding into Ford following the announcement, trying to secure new contracts with many soon-to-be free Model Talent.
According to The Star, Ann Sutherland, of Toronto's Sutherland Models, confessed that there were no real warning signs that Ford was pulling out of Toronto; and that the decision as a whole was a "little bit surprising".
I've had the pleasure of working with a few artists from Ford, both in-front and behind-the-camera, and it is definitely sad to see the agency detach from the city. A strong name like Ford Models carries with it a lot of significant weight; I can only hope that our homegrown Canadian agencies will continue to flourish in the wake of Ford's decision to leave; the reason of which is still very unclear.
According to The Star, Ford Models' New York headquarters have yet to return any calls regarding the matter.
"It is not my opinion that they were doing badly. I think it was just a New York decision, people that might be a little out of touch with our city." -Ann Sutherland courtesy Toronto Star